It’s a widely known fact that starting a business is risky business. It’s even riskier when you start a business when you’re older, taking your life savings or pension and pouring it into an unproven concept. But what is the alternative? What happens when you’re not ready to retire? The answer could lie in franchising. Here’s why.
When age is on your side
One of the repercussions of the global financial crisis and recession is that mature mid- and senior level management and executives have been left high and dry without a job. What this has meant is that business veterans have been capitalizing on the opportunities available in the franchise industry. Why? After gaining experience in their working life and careers, individuals in the 50s bracket and up are in more of an equipped position to operate a business successfully.
Take Fayyaaz Seedat and Anthony Lolwane as prime examples of individuals in their 50s venturing successfully into franchising. They’re both franchisees who manage The Fish & Chip Co stores, and both are enthusiastic about franchising and its ability to be a sound and beneficial investment for the long-term, especially when planning for retirement.
“I believe franchising is the way to go at any age,” says Lolwane. “But starting now at 54 as a franchisee has given me an advantage because of the business and life experience I’ve gained over the years. With age comes experience, which in turn gives you increased confidence, a better understanding of life, a stronger sense of responsibility, and as importantly, an understanding of business in general.”
Seedat echoes his sentiments, “I believe experience in business, as in life, is priceless. It’s not something that can be bought or sold. There is also no textbook that can teach you all the complexities of business management. Age is therefore not a hindrance in the world of franchising, if you have the needed skills.”
With time comes interpersonal skills
Aside from being better equipped from a business skills perspective, age gives prospective franchisees the advantage in that they recognise the importance of driving a business through good leadership. “If there’s one thing that time teaches you, it’s the importance of building relationships with people who choose to work towards the same goals as you.
When everyone moves in the same direction, things will progress smoothly,” Lolwane says. “Challenges will occur no matter what your level of expertise, it’s the nature of business, but it’s the depth of your relationships with your staff and how you manage those relationships that sets you apart,” he continues.
What about the hours and demands?
Naturally a concern of older individuals who are reaching the end of their careers would be that one longer hours involved in running a successful business. “It’s hard work managing a business at any age as there are always challenges that one needs to face. The long hours can be tiring, but if you are passionate about the business and have a good relationship with your franchisor, you will make it,” says Seedat.
And, of course, one of the greatest advantages of franchising is that it’s a proven concept with solid systems, meaning a lot of the guess work has been taken out. Plus the added support of the franchisor’s training, operations teams and marketing make the investment much less risky than opening an independent business. A sounds move if you’re not ready to go to pasture.